Friday, March 24, 2017

Catching Up with Dave Winfield

Probably my most neglected player collection is HOFer Dave Winfield.  When I think about the reasons a couple things come to mind.  I do have a majority of his playing day cards that aren't super rare so picking up big lots of his cards isn't typically fruitful.  Also, unlike many of the retired HOFers like George Brett, Robin Yount, Dennis Eckersley, etc. who get 200-400 cards per year in new releases, Winfield has averaged under 100/year for the last 8 season. I think it is a little out of site, out of mind for me.

That didn't stop me from picking up these 3 cards of Dave, all representing his first few years with the San Diego Padres:

First up is this nice team logo medallion card.  Early on, I was irritated by Topps usage of these commemorative pins or patches as hits in their products but they have grown on me.  This is a great example of a nicely designed card.  Solid photo selection and the team logo is nice, big and clear in a hard metallic material.  I briefly flirted with the idea of seeking out the entire set but if I recall it is a pretty big checklist and I shifted gears.  Glad to have this Winfield in my collection.

This card design from the Donruss set is fairly basic but it has a couple things I really like on this particular card.  First, I think this is the first time I have seen this photo used on a Winfield card.  It isn't anything super special but I have gotten sick of the constant recycling of just a few photos.  I also like the usage of a bat relic.  It seems to me that the start of the relic phase had a lot more bat cards versus jersey cards to the point where I personally undervalued bat relics.  The tide has turned and now I seem to be appreciating the little slabs of wood more than a jersey.

This final card is a nice low numbered autograph card.  If I do ramp up my Winfield collecting and start going after more of his cards, I do know that one thing I will find is reasonably priced autos.  According to Beckett he has just over 600 different autographed cards (George Brett for example has more than twice Winfield) so they might not be as plentiful as some of his contemporaries but I do think I will be keeping my eyes open to see if I can continue to add some cards to this player collection.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Joy of a Completed Insert Set - 2000 Topps 21st Century Topps

Since 2006, in addition to the Topps Flagship base sets, I have been collecting most of the insert sets as well.  I little while back I decided to fill some gaps in my collection and pick up the Topps insert sets from 1993 to 2005.  While I do have all the base sets in that range, this was a period where I didn't do a ton of collection.  Most of the sets have been picked up in factory form or bought complete without opening many or any packs.  I have decided to share the different insert sets as I complete them to document my progress and share the sets in case they came at a lull in your collecting as well.

This set comes from 2000 Topps and is titled 21st Century Topps. This is a 10 card set on a nice shiny card stock and were inserted in Series 1 packs.  I believe the premise was to highlight some hitters that Topps believed would be the stars of the early 21st Century.

So how did Topps do?  I think they hit at about an 80% success rate with just Grieve and Gonzalez being strong players and even those 2 guys made an All-Star game.  Jeter made 14 All-Star games, Casey 3 All-Star, Nomar 6, A-Roid 14, Rolen 7, Andruw 5, Vlad 9 and Helton 5.  Seems like a pretty nice group of players with bright futures at the time.

I also thought I would share a card back to showcase the entire card.

A few personal stats and a write up about each players potential and assets.  A nice comparison to Roberto Clemente which I think ends up being pretty accurate.  I am hoping Guerrero joins Clemente in the Hall of Fame next year.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Catching Up with Reggie Jackson

I admit, I have too many player collections - I have a problem.  Over the last couple years I have even added to the number when I decided to pursue collections of Chili Davis, Ben Petrick and Dave Parker as a Pirate.  I have realized lately that a couple of my player collections have taken somewhat of a back seat.  I have placed a little more focus on grabbing some new (to my collection) Reggie Jackson cards and thought I would show them off.

This group has a little bit of everything with parallels, base cards, inserts, and reprints.  It also covers Reggie's stops in Oakland, New York and California. I think Reggie is one of the most photogenic players with so many great cards.

Here are a few more inserts and a short print base cards.  My favorite cards of Reggie show him in his #9 uniform during his first stint with the A's.  He is typically clean shaven on those 70s A's teams, looks pretty young and the A's always sported some sweet unis.

Here are 3 oddball items of Mr. October with a late 70s disc, a Topps coin and an encased Topps Pristine card - 3 very cool collectibles.

I decided to show the back of this 1978 Record Breaker to share the O-Pee-Cheeness of the card.  This card celebrates the amazing World Series performance in 1977.

Here are a couple relics, I really like the UD one on top that celebrates his membership in the 500 HR club (back when it meant a little more).  The Prime Cuts card is cool, I have a great appreciation for bat relics as of late, they used to take a back seat to jerseys in my order of preference but that has switched.

Finally a pair of awesome Kellogg's cards from early in Reggie's career.  A great look for the reasons listed above but even better with the 3-D technology.  I don't see my passion and focus for Reggie cards reaching the height of Willie McCovey or Rickey Henderson but I do plan on continuing to add to my Mr. October collection.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Trade Post - Night Owl

If I had to guess, I would say that Greg of Night Owl Cards is the blogger I have traded with the most.  Although we have had a couple big trades (one involving vintage Mays and Snider cards comes to mind), a majority of our trades are of the few cards here and few cards there variety.  I like to think of my end as the "get rid of the Dodgers as quickly as I can" packages.

Yesterday I dropped off a return package of Dodger IP autos at the post office which inspired me to get this post up today.  I am pretty far behind on trade posts but this is a chance to beat Greg to the punch (since he doesn't even have the cards from me yet).

You may recall a gift Night Owl received from Mrs. Night Owl of an awesome array of autograph cards.  The only bad part (for him) was the team featured in all the autos.  His negative turned into my positive as all these Giants autos were sent my way:

I shared the wealth with fellow Giants fan and friend of the blog mrhaverkamp and sent him a few of these for a project he is working on and the rest will remain appreciated parts of my Giants collection.

You can see by the note that Night Owl also participates in the "get rid as quickly as possible" club as well.

Proving how far behind I am in trade posts, when prepping this post I recognized a few other scans of cards Greg and previously sent my way so I figured I would show them off as well.

Here we have a nice mix of 2016 Giants.  With my pack consumption decreasing in 2016, I counted on trade packages such as this to fill quite a few Giants holes in my collection.

This mix of cards goes back another year or so.  I am considering building the entire insert set of the 1st Home Run cards like the Sandoval up top but it is a pretty big set and I don't have many of them. I suspect if I can find a nice sized lot I might give it a go.  Most of the photos capture shots around the time of the 1st HR which I like and appreciate.

Here are some more 2016 cards.  The Bumgarner photo from Stadium Club is pretty cool with the ball in flight.  Anyone else really like the black border Heritage cards?  I wouldn't mind a set that looked like this.

Here are some parallels that are a little older.  With the high number of Giants cards Night Owl has sent my way, I always wonder where nice looking Giants cards such as these pop into his hands? Do you think he has a secret stash of Giants cards that he actually likes - nah that is too far fetched.

Finally the last 2 cards are pretty nice one of Brandon Belt.  The top card is the snowflake parallel from the Walmart set that came out around Christmas. With this one, I think I am 2 cards away from the complete Giants parallel set.  Finally a sweet orange jersey swatch in a framed Gypsy Queen relic card.  Greg, thanks for all the cards and I hope the Dodgers that are on the way help ease the pain for your Giants centered gift.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I am so excited baseball is back with the start of Spring Training a few days back.  New baseball cards are out for 2017, I am prepping for my fantasy baseball draft that takes place in a week and I am contemplating purchasing the MLB TV package so I can watch all the Giants games this year.

Speaking of Giants games, they are coming to KC this year in April for a mid-week 2 game series.  I have a buddy from CA coming into town with his son and I am taking my boys to both games.  Single game tickets go on sale on the 24th and I hope to be online right as they go on sale to score some good tickets.

I am pretty optimistic about the Giants this season.  The bullpen was their Achilles Heel last year and I believe Mark Melancon will answer the bell as the closer.  I have to admit I am a little worried about bullpen depth and the LF situation but overall I think a playoff berth is in the cards this year.

Every so often I check in over at Sports Card Forum to see if I can pick up some Giants cards.  I typically only check out the Sale threads as trades are done by BV and it is just too complex at times to get a deal hammered out.  I made two purchases in the last few days and both showed up in last night's mail.  Thought it would be fun to show them off together.

The first package was a 2-card package, both very nice cards:

 I picked up this nice gold parallel from 2011 Topps Tribute of Giants great Christy Mathewson.  There have been a few years when I have aggressively sought out as many of the Tribute parallels as I could but 2011 was not one of those years.  Outside of my McCovey collection, this is my only non-blue parallel. It sure is a nice one.

The second card was this great looking relic from 2005 Topps Pristine Legends of HOFer Monte Irvin.  The seller didn't include scans of these cards and I was so pleasantly surprised when this card popped out of the package.  I don't recall ever seeing this card or this design before.  I think it looks great and I am so happy to have made it a part of my collection.

The next seller had a long list of autos and serial numbered cards.  For convenience, he had them sorted by team which was great!  I went through the Giants selections and pick out these that I needed:

 For whatever reason, I really like the Career and Season Stats parallels from Donruss so when I saw these in the scan I knew I needed to make a purchase.  The Buster Press Proof card in the '81 design looks amazing in hand.  The Hot of the Press Bumgarner is a pretty rare card although it isn't numbered.  I bought quite a bit of this product when it came out and only pulled one.  I do have the McCovey but it was hard to track down.

 In addition to the Donruss cards, this seller had a ton of Bowman Chrome cards.  I was able to find 6 that I needed, all from 2014.  The Matt Cain card in the upper left is called a Carbon Fiber Refractor and it is a beautiful card.  It is numbered 08/10 and I was very glad to bring it home.  The three refractors along the bottom are all numbered /500 and bring me to within three of the team set so I may try to hunt the rest down.
I made a mistake on the Harper/Bumgarner card as I already had a copy. If you happen to be interested in it, let me know and I can send it your way.  The Flores auto was a need and I couldn't pass up a needed Giants auto for a buck or two.

Lots of fun to bring in some new Giants cards and I am glad to have SCF as a resource.  I have considered trying to get more active in trading on the site again but right now I don't have enough time to post as much as I would like on this blog.  Maybe some day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2 More Boxes of 2014 Panini Hall of Fame

Man, I love this stuff.  I have broken a few boxes and saw them on sale again and decided to pick up a couple more.  As a HOF auto collector, my hope is always to add some new autos to my collection. The subject matter of all the cards - HOFers - make some great looking cards of the all time greats.

Let's see how these two boxes treated me:

First up are the base cards and their parallels.  I scored one each numbered to /75, /50 and /25.  The DiMaggio is great and the other two are solid.

These Crusade cards are pretty solid in design, I scored another Jolten Joe, a purple parallel of Dizzy Dean and a great looking die cut of Carl Yastrzemski.  This becomes one of my favorite Yaz cards in my collection and it is numbered to /10.

My two Diamond Kings card as the unnumbered base cards and feature two players I grew up watching.  I love the Brett picture, he looks so young.

One each of my two favorite insert sets from this product.  I have officially decided to collect these 40 card sets.  I have a needs list on my Set Want List page and recently picked up a lot from a seller on COMC, he had pretty reasonable prices and took my offer with them together as a group.

Boom! A gem card of Cubs great Hack Wilson.  I don't know the odds of these gem cards or what they sell for on the secondary market but I like the look.  Having watched a number of box breaks I would guess these are 1 per 5-10 boxes so this is a nice score.

The high from the gem card was tempered a bit with two duplicate autos. I have several Eck autos in my collection.  The Sutton is a nice addition with the numbering /50 and perhaps an upgrade over my other Sutton auto from a different set.

The final card in this box was a big one of the Big Train.  A Walter Johnson 1/1!  I haven't decided what to do with this card yet.  I rarely sell cards on eBay any more and have no idea what I would ask.  If I end up at the National, maybe I will take it as trade bait.  Those are both possibilities but my money would be on it staying in my collection as it is a beautiful card.

On to Box 2...

Only 2 base cards, both actually parallels /50.  Nice to score a Giants card in Cepeda as well.  The Yogi card is great, nice posed photo of the swing follow through.

These Crusade cards weren't all that exciting, no PC hits and not any high end HOFers with the possible exception of Dizzy Dean.

A great bounce back with 2 of my player collections represented by the two Diamond King cards.  These were both needs and the Diamond King design looks great. After the Dominators and Elite Series get knocked off the want list, this set is a possibility to pursue.

It was nice to score 3 of these inserts in this box.  Already had the Mathewson in the Giants collection but it was a need for my new set quest.  I was lucky not to pull any duplicates in the boxes I have purchased so far.

Wow! Another Big Train sighting and another gem sighting. I am guessing these boxes came from different cases.  This 2 box break gave me my two best Walter Johnson cards.

The first auto is my second Whitey Herzog auto for my collection.  I had pulled one from a Panini Cooperstown box a couple years back.  Not the greatest pull but I like this design and  the Herzog photo is nice.

My final auto is a huge pull! A Carl Yastrzemski on card auto /5.  I have been wanting a Yaz auto for a long time. His older certified autos are few and far between. Even though he has started signing more over the past couple of years, his cards are pretty expensive and I haven't found one I like at a price that fits my range. That is no longer a problem with this addition, I can take the eBay email notification off and lessen my daily email load by 1.

I am pretty happy with the boxes of 2014 Panini Hall of Fame once again.  I am not sure what the resale value of these boxes would be, I am not in it to flip and make money. I am very satisfied with these breaks and enjoy all the cards.  My guess is I will probably pick up a couple more during the next round of sales.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Trade Post - Dawg Day Cards

One of my favorite traders is Angus over at Dawg Day Cards.  He lives in Canada and has access to vintage OPC cards but has a PO Box in NY to keep postage costs down for his fellow traders!  He has also shown the ability to track down some unique items which you will see later in this post.  Our first trade was in the second half of last year and today I am sharing two more packages Angus sent my way.

First up is some vintage set help:

I have been plugging away at this 1971 Topps set and Angus helped me inch closer with this six-pack of cards including HOF Tony Perez and Le Grande Orange Rusty Staub decked out in his Expos gear.  As of today, I need just 26 cards and have 2-3 incoming.  My goal to finish this set in 2017 seems within grasp.

How about this group of 1972 Topps cards?  These are all mid-high or high number cards which have been very tough to track down for me.  HOFers Wilhelm and Santo along with some stars like McLain and Murcer add to the greatness of this lot of cards.  My LCS doesn't have any high numbers in stock so I am hoping to convince Mrs. ARPSmith to allow a trip to the National in July to work on knocking more cards off this want list.

Moving onto the Canadian portion of the post, 1975 Topps OPC cards!  A nice group of nine makes a significant dent in the want list.  I can't pinpoint the reason, but the Canadian versions of these Topps cards hold a mystique for me.  I have considered making the acquisition of all the Giants OPC cards an annual goal for the last couple years but haven't pulled the trigger.

Here is a 1971 OPC of Willie McCovey. This was a condition upgrade for my McCovey collection.  I think these card backs are among the best out there. I also got a couple nice oddballs for the Giants collection.  I was 12 when this Super Sugar Crisp card came out.  I probably had a box or two of these when I was a kid but never remember pulling cards out of the boxes.

This scan shows a couple more OPC cards, a couple Barry Bonds inserts and a cool oddball of the Polo Grounds.  I wasn't able to pinpoint the origin of the Polo Grounds card but it is instantly a favorite.

Finally, I mentioned at the top of the post about some unique items and I have two to share:

First up is a great looking postcard of San Francisco Legend Lefty O'Doul. I am guessing this postcard came from his restaurant.  O'Doul grew up in San Francisco and had an 12 year MLB career.  He also played 12 years for the San Francisco Seals of the PCL (although he only made it into 1 game in 2 of the seasons)  which predated the Giants relocation to San Francisco.  His peak year in 1929 with the Phillies where he hit .398 and finished second in the MVP voting.  He played 3 different seasons with the NY Giants and had a peak year of getting 16.7% of the votes in Hall of Fame balloting in 1960.  This postcard is a great addition to my Giants collection.

The final item is a first for me, a matchbook cover:

This unique item comes from a hotel the Giants used during Spring Training.  I hadn't heard of this place and this matchbook caused me to do some research.  The Francisco Grande is still in business and had a neat historic video on its website.  I found out that the Giants owner bought the land in 1961 and starting in 1962 the Giants used it as a Spring Training site. There was a baseball field on premises and the great teams of the 1960s including Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, Marichal and Perry all played there. The Giants kept this as their Spring home until 1982.  The swimming pool is shaped like a baseball bat with the jacuzzi acting as the ball.  If you watch the video you will also see a nice John Wayne connection to the resort.

Thanks Angus for all the great stuff, both the collection needs and the unique items.  I have a few things I need to get together and send your way soon.